Saturday, February 16, 2013

Let the Lower Lights Be Burning

Christ is the way, the truth and the life. He is the eternal light.

What does he need us for?

It is much like a light house for a harbor.  There is an upper light, and it shines brightly.  But in order to show where the gap in the reef is located so ships can sail safely through - there needs to be a second light.
The captain needs a lower light down by the shore.  Then he can line up the two lights and sail straight into the harbor following along that line.

Boyd Packer explains how he learned this vital lesson when he was on a boat in the middle of a storm in the Samoan islands.

We arrived in the harbor at Mulifanua. There was one narrow passage we were to go through along the reef. A light on the hill above the beach and a second lower light marked the narrow passage. When a boat was maneuvered so that the two lights were one above the other, the boat would be lined up properly to pass through the dangerous rocks that lined the passage.

But that night there was only one light. Two young men were waiting on the landing to meet us, but the crossing took much longer than usual. After watching for hours for signs of our boat, the young men tired and fell asleep, neglecting to turn on the second light, the lower light. As a result, the passage through the reef was not clear.

The captain maneuvered the boat as best he could toward the one upper light on shore while a crewman held the borrowed flashlight over the bow, searching for rocks ahead. We could hear the breakers crashing over the reef. When we were close enough to see them with the flashlight, the captain frantically shouted reverse and backed away to try again to locate the passage.

After many attempts, he knew it would be impossible to find the passage. All we could do was try to reach the harbor at Apia 40 miles away. We were helpless against the ferocious power of the elements. I do not remember ever being where it was so dark.

We made no progress for the first hour, even though the engine was at full throttle. The boat would struggle up a mountainous wave and then pause in exhaustion at the top of the crest with the propellers out of the water. The vibration of the propellers would shake the boat almost to pieces before it slid down the other side.

We were lying spread-eagled on the cover of the cargo hold, holding on with our hands on one side and with our toes locked on the other to keep from being washed overboard. Mark Littleford lost hold and was thrown against the low iron rail. His head was cut, but the rail kept him from being washed away.  Eventually, we moved ahead and near daylight finally pulled into the harbor at Apia.

Oh, how much trouble could have been saved if those two young men had simply done their duty, and turned on the lower light.
In the world, as weak and feeble and fallible as we are - we have been asked to be that lower light.  We don't always know who we are shining for.  We don't know when they'll need our light, or why.  We just know that Christ has asked us to be the lower light.  If we fail to let our light shine for others to see - it might be the very moment they needed our light most - to guide them to the greater light above.    We are not responsible for others 'choices, but we are responsible for our own.  We have been asked to be a beacon of light in the dark night.  Let us not fail in this endeavor.

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